So….you’ve decided to give us a nod. We’re glad you did!
As children’s literature enthusiasts, our blog name pays homage to the classic children’s poem from 1889, “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” by Eugene Field.
Cecilia Horn is currently the Juvenile Collection Development Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library in northern Kentucky (greater Cincinnati). Terri Diebel is a Children’s Librarian with the same library system. Both hold Masters of Library Science degrees and have worked in the field of Children’s Literature for many years. In recent years, they have collaborated on presentations at local, state, and national library and literature conferences.
Children’s literature is our passion. Through this blog, we hope to share that enthusiasm and love of children’s books. We are somewhat nostalgic in that we have our favorite books from the past, treasures in the library attic, so to speak, yet we enjoy reviewing new books, hopefully finding new gems along the way.
Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber by Tom Brokaw, illus.by Robert T. Barrett
This is the true story of Lt. Hal Halverson who, during Christmas 1944, enlisted crew members to donate their rations of candy to distribute to the children of war-torn Germany dropping candy parachutes via cargo planes. The operation grew to include candy donations from around the world. Halverson became known as the Candy Bomber. The book is accompanied by documentary photos and DVD narrated by Brokaw. Instructions for making a candy parachute are included.
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert, photos by Per Breiehagen
The husband and wife team of Evert and Breiehagen photographed their daughter Anja dressed in full Nordic regalia, complete with a cute red gnomic hat. Anja dreams of becoming one of Santa’s elves and so sets off on an adventure across the frozen tundra. Along the way she encounters a cardinal, horse, musk-ox, polar bear and reindeer. The photographs create an enchanted atmosphere that will captivate any child.
Dusk by Uri Shulevitz
Shulevitz is a Caldecott winning illustrator. The story takes place as a boy, a dog, and his grandfather take a walk on the streets of New York City. As darkness falls, light illuminates the city streets. The three companions take in the wonders of the shop windows displaying celebrations of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. The colorful illustrations evoke the warmth of the holiday season.
Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco
This newest book by Polacco celebrates the joy of Christmas and handmade gifts. Brother and sister Trisha and Richie come to realize that opening your heart is more meaningful than opening lots of store bought presents. Polacco is the author/illustrator of over 50 picture books for children, including the much-loved Christmas books Christmas Tapestry and An Orange for Frankie.
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Mike Wohnoutka
This is a remake of Kimmel’s The Chanukkah Guest (1990). It is newly illustrated and is for younger readers. In this humorous tale, ninety-seven year old Bubba Brayna mistakes a bear for her rabbi and treats him like an honored guest. A recipe for latkes is included.
Little Santa by Jon Agee
This is a fictional biography of Santa Claus. Santa, the youngest of seven, loves the harsh environment of the North Pole, unlike the rest of his family. When a blizzard snows them in, Santa is able to escape by shimmying up the chimney to look for help. He returns with a flying reindeer and house full of elves to rescue the family. The Clauses eventually decide they have had enough. They all move to Florida, except for Little Santa who stays behind with his new friends. The rest is history.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illus. by Holly Hobbie
There are of course countless illustrated versions of Moore’s poem originally published in 1823. This one is one of the newest and is a real treat. Transparent watercolor and pen and ink illustrations provide a warm rendering of an old classic. Included is the origin of the poem as well as notes on the artist’s interpretation.
An Otis Christmas by Loren Long
Loren Long is near and dear to us as he is a local author. This is the latest in his series of books about Otis the tractor. In this story, Otis saves the day by traveling through a snowstorm and beeping his new Christmas horn to awaken Doc Baker, the veterinarian, who is needed to help birth the foal. The foal is born on Christmas Day with the marking of a star on its forehead.
Peace on Earth: A Christmas Collection by Mary Engelbreit
This is a collection of Christmas carols, poems, and short biblical passages about the story of the Nativity by well-known illustrator Mary Engelbreit. Full page illustrations are surrounded by intricate borders. This is typical Engelbreit style.
Santa Claus and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno, illus. by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
This is a “Goldilocks” variation with a Scandinavian setting. This time the Three Bears celebrate Christmas, and it’s Santa who eats the Christmas pudding, breaks Baby Bear’s chair, and falls asleep in Baby Bear’s bed. When Santa awakens he has presents for all. As he flies off in his sleigh, he promises to bring Baby Bear a new chair next year!
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Susan Jeffers
This is “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with a magical twist. On Christmas Eve, Emma secretly unwraps one of her gifts, a snow globe containing a partridge in a pear tree. She accidently breaks it and then cries herself to sleep. She dreams of being whisked away by Santa and two turtle doves, three French hens, etc. Once they get to Santa’s workshop, he repairs the broken snow globe. Jeffers has written many of our holiday favorites, including The Nutcracker, and Silent Night.
Favorites from the Past
The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia McKissack, illus. by Jerry Pinkney
Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas by Walter Wick
Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen, illus. by Robert Sabuda
Christmas Tree! by Wendell and Florence Minor
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee
Joy to the World: Christmas Stories and Songs by Tomie dePaola
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington, illus. by Shane Evans
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells
Michael Hague’s Treasury of Christmas Carols by Michael and Kathleen Hague
Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh, illus. by J. Otto Seibold
A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora, illus. by Magaly Morales
Santa Duck by David Milgrim
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Chris Soentpiet
Snowflake Kisses and Gingerbread Smiles by Toni Trent Parker, photos by Earl Anderson
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto